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2 - Kant’s Theoretical Philosophy in the Early 1760s and Its Relation to His Conception of Freedom

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 December 2019

Henry E. Allison
Affiliation:
University of California, San Diego
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Summary

Since Kant’s discussions of free will in the texts from the first half of the 1760s are contained in his contributions to both theoretical and practical philosophy, and since these involve different considerations, it will be convenient to divide the treatment of Kant’s account of freedom during this period into two chapters. The present chapter will be concerned with Kant’s theoretical writings, insofar as they bear on the issue, and it will focus on the following texts: “Inquiry concerning the distinctness of the principles of natural theology and morality, being an answer to the question proposed by the Berlin Royal Academy of Sciences for the year 1763” [Untersuchung über die Deutlichkeit der Grundsätze der natürlichen Theologie und der Moral. Zur Beantwortung der Frage, welche die Konig. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin auf das Jahr 1763 aufgegeben hat] (1764) (henceforth referred to as the Prize Essay); “An attempt to introduce the concept of negative magnitudes into philosophy” [Versuch den Begriff der negativen Grössen in die Weltweisheit einzufuhren] (1763) (henceforth referred to as Negative Magnitudes); The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God [Der einzig mögliche Beweisgrund zu einer Demonstration des Daseins Gottes] (1763) (henceforth referred to as Beweisgrund); and the portion of Herder’s transcript of Kant’s metaphysics lectures that deals with freedom of the will.

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Kant's Conception of Freedom
A Developmental and Critical Analysis
, pp. 45 - 84
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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